Monday, 8 December 2014

Homemade body sugar scrubs - great gift ideas

This time of year, and lets face it, every other time of year, is busy busy busy!  If you're anything like me you have all the best intentions to make homemade gifts during the year, pinning lots of cute ideas to your Pinterest boards, spotting gorgeous jars and bottles in your travels, making a mental note to come back and get them closer to Christmas....  Is that you too?!!
Well then you will understand me when I say that as much as I am happy I have actually pulled it off this year, I am equally surprised that I have actually pulled it off this year!!
But seriously these sugar scrubs are not only a really lovely gift to receive, they are also all natural (no preservatives or numbers), can be all organic if you choose, and only contain two ingredients for the base - YES TWO!! - and then whatever flavours/scents you chose to personalise them.
No whiz bang appliances are needed - just a bowl and a spoon - and within the hour you will have a collection of jars looking so pretty, good enough to eat, and ready to go!

Teachers, neighbours, grandparents, the postie..... whoever you want to give a little gift to to say thanks for all you've done/been this year, this is definitely the thing to make!
I tested some of my scrubs out this morning and my skin is so soft and smooth!  I loved the result so much I think the next batch may just be for our shower!!
The most difficult part of this recipe is deciding which flavour/scent combinations to choose.  I have included some ideas to get you thinking below.

Enjoy the festive season Mellymaks family!  And don't lose sight of whats most important throughout the busyness!!
Homemade body sugar scrubs

Homemade body sugar scrubs


3 cups sugar (I used white this time but in my research the scrubs will work just as well with brown sugar)
3/4 cup oil (I used grapeseed oil, but again many oils would work well - almond, avocado, coconut, macadamia)
flavours ( In one batch I used 10 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract.  In the other batch I used the juice of half a lime, the grated rind of a whole lime and a splash of peppermint extract)


  1. Put all ingredients into the bowl and mix well.
  2. Spoon into jars and seal. (This recipe filled 5 x 200ml jars - see pic above)
  3. Store in a cool, dry place.  It will apparently keep for months!

Flavour/scent options
  • Citrus essential oils and a cinnamon stick
  • Chai - Cinnamon, cardamon, star anise, cloves, black tea leaves
  • Ground freeze-dried strawberries
  • Coffee grounds and vanilla bean extract
  • Raw honey and ginger powder
  • Grated lemongrass and lime zest

Friday, 3 October 2014

Blood Orange Tart with an almond base - Gluten Free

There's something really exotic and mysterious about blood oranges.  Is it their unusually short harvest season (approx 2 months) that creates a sense of urgency and desire? Their stunning and unique flesh colours?  Or the beautiful flavour combination of both citrus and raspberries?  Either way, I absolutely love seeing blood oranges hit the markets and always stock up to make as many treats as possible!
This year I couldn't go past blood orange sorbet.  The colour is striking and the flavour sharp and citrusey yet refreshing!  Making sorbets in the Thermomix is oh so easy that it is almost worth buying one for that benefit alone!
Blood Orange Sorbet made in the Thermomix
But with a bowl of sorbet chilling in the freezer I still had a lot of blood orange quarters peeled and pipped and waiting for another creation.  So a blood orange tart it was!  I was looking for a decadent tart yet something quite light in texture to ensure the citrus notes were not drowned out.    And of course I find it hard to create anything without a touch of nutrition added, and so almonds and chia were made a part of the base and I stuck to minimal sugar and the lesser processed rapadura at that.
You need to excuse my pictures, as per usual, as I am far from a good photographer but take my word for it, this tart was YUM!!
One of the best features of this recipe is the requirement for just one bowl, whether it be a TMX bowl, a food processor bowl or the old traditional, well, bowl!  Serving this up at the table in front of friends will be sure to impress, and yet you needn't disclose the minimal fuss you have gone to!  I won't tell them if you don't!
Make it the day before to let the flavours settle if time allows, and serve up with anything from a reduction of extra blood orange juice, double cream, vanilla ice cream, segments of fresh blood oranges or indeed a scoop of homemade blood orange sorbet.  Enjoy...

 Blood Orange Tart with an almond base (gluten free)


100g butter
100g raw almonds (or almond meal if you don't have a processor to mill almonds)
200g gluten free plain flour (I used Orgran brand)
40g rapadura or coconut sugar
10g white chia seeds
1 egg

300g blood orange flesh (skin, pith and pips removed)
100g rapadura or coconut sugar
2 eggs
180g cream
1 heaped teaspoon gluten free cornflour

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a 24cm shallow pie case with a removable base.
  2. For the base, if you are using a food processor, add almonds and chia seeds to the bowl and process on high speed until a meal consistency is achieved. 
  3. If not using a food processor, place almond meal, chia seeds, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl.  Add butter and work through with finger tips until mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Add beaten egg and work through until mixture comes together.  Continue at step 6.
  4. Add butter, sugar and flour and process just until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  5. Add the egg and pulse until just combined.  
  6. Press mixture evenly into pie case both into the base and the sides.  Place on a baking tray for stability and blind bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. For the filling, add orange flesh and sugar to the food processor bowl.  Blend until fine pulp is formed.
  8. Add remaining filling ingredients and process until smooth and well combined.  
  9. Pour over base and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until set.  The filling will still wobble when you move it however is actually set.
  10. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in fridge.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a 24cm shallow pie case with a removable base.
  2. For the base, place almonds and chia in the TM bowl and mill on speed 10 for 10 seconds.
  3. Add flour and sugar and combine on speed 5 for 5 seconds.  Add butter and process on speed 5 for 10 seconds. 
  4. Add egg and mix on REVERSE, speed 4 for 10 seconds.
  5. Press mixture evenly into pie case both into the base and the sides.  Place on a baking tray for stability and blind bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. For the filling, place orange and sugar in TM bowl (no need to clean from making the base, just ensure as much of the base has been removed as possible) and blend on speed 9 for 20 seconds.
  7. Add remaining filling ingredients and blend on speed 4.5 for 30 seconds.  Pour over base and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until set.  The filling will still wobble when you move it however is actually set.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in fridge.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Clean eating kids party plan - All recipes included

Putting together a party is such a big thing isn't it?!  Even the simplest of parties still requires thoughts about food, decorations, entertainment, other supplies such as napkins, cups etc etc etc!!!
I've just gone through another party - my son's 6th birthday!  He wanted a science themed birthday so we ended up hiring a company called 'Scientwists' to come and host the first hour of the party, with the second hour being about eating and free play!  Just as a side note, the Scientwists were fantastic and kept all 15 kids attention for the whole hour!  We had the rockets party and after a brief science interactive display show, the kids all donned a lab coat and pair of safety glasses and got to work on making a little rocket which they all launched towards the end of the party!  It was so fun and they got to take home their homemade rockets for more fun beyond the party!
Anyway, as all of you regular Mellymaks readers know, my passion is providing real foods to kids, avoiding as many additives as possible and fostering an appreciation for whole foods, real flavours, 'clean' home cooking, and a respect for food and where it has come from.
I would suggest parties are inherently the most difficult places to find these values, and much of this has come from an expectation of sugar laden, highly processed, 'treat' foods that have little nutritional value and a high additive content.  WHY?!!!  I go into this more in this blog post so will leave it there, but only to say that this blog post is designed to make it as easy as possible to create a mostly additive free party that kids will love.  I certainly had no complaints from our little guests and believe me there wasn't much food left over when they all shut the gate and left with their rockets in hand!!
So below I have listed each food item that was on our table and the recipes or links to recipes I used so that hopefully you can just print this out and have all the information you need in one place to make your next party an additive free one.  Who really wants kids high as kites on colours, flavours, other additives and processed sugars and fats??  How is that celebrating?
Whilst you may think this is a lot of time and effort compared to picking up a heap of frozen and packet items from the supermarket the day before, I just spread out the tasks over the week or two before and didn't find it too hard with some pre-planning.


 I had NO soft drinks at our party.  Mineral water was available, as was 'free from concentrate' orange juice (this is important as the concentrate loses any nutritional value and is further processed.  Also then generally synthetic vitamins are added back into the juice after processing to replace what was killed off in the process).
I also made homemade cordial which is super easy to do - with or without a Thermomix (although probably a little less messy and less dishes with a TMX).  Here is the recipe (taken from the EDC cookbook)


130g berries of choice (I have always used frozen organic raspberries)
300g water
approx 370g raw sugar (rapadura will impart a flavour and colour into the cordial so for this recipe I either use coconut sugar and whiz it up first in the TMX to almost icing sugar consistency or otherwise organic raw sugar)

Method (TMX and conventional)

Place the berries and water into TM bowl and mix for 20 seconds on Sp 4. (or whiz together in blender, food processor (make sure it is water tight!) or you could even use a stick blender to blend the fruit then mix through the water)
Heat for 5 minutes at 90 degrees on Sp 2 (or in a saucepan until just at simmering point).
Strain through a fine sieve (making sure you press out all the liquid you can) into a jug and weigh it back into the TM bowl.  Add the same weight in sugar.  It always weighs in at around 370g so for those of you who aren't using a Thermomix, pour the strained liquid back into your saucepan and add 370g sugar.
Heat for 6 minutes at 90 degrees on Sp 2 or on the stove at a low simmer until the sugar has dissolved (approx 5 minutes).
Cool slightly and pour into clean jars or bottles.  Store in fridge.
This will keep for weeks so make it in advance and it will be ready for the party with ease.  This quantity made approx 3-3.5 litres of cordial which seemed adequate for this sized party (approx 16 kids plus some big kids sneaking cordial!!)


Our party was from 10.30-12.30am and the kids ate from 11.30 so I was catering for 'brunch/almost lunch'.  Therefore my savoury spread was:
  • Mini meat pies (home made shortcrust spelt pastry and slow cooked meat filling)
  • Homemade 'sausage' rolls (with lots of vegies as well as minced rump steak).  
  • Cheese platter with carrot and celery sticks, tasty cheese cut into small squares for the kids, hommus dip and a spinach and cashew pesto, and wholegrain rice crackers.
  • Mexican Dip (layers of mashed avocado, diced tomato, grated cheese and served with corn chips.
  • Mini organic sausages (I bought the Macro brand available in Woolworths supermarkets) served with preservative free wholemeal bread and tomato sauce.
Other savoury ideas:
  • sushi platter
  • homemade sandwiches with fillings such as cheese/tomato, tuna/mayo mix, shredded roast chicken/avocado, cream cheese/cucumber.
  • mini homemade quiches
  • mini noodle boxes filled with homemade fried rice or vermicilli rice noodles.
  • mini homemade pizzas using preservative free pita breads
  • little spinach/ricotta/feta filo pastry triangles
  • homemade popcorn
Savoury foods to avoid:
  • 'Little franks' - we all know those fluro red cased hot dogs are nothing but a super concoction of preservatives, colours and stuff far removed from actual meat!!
  • Prepackaged frozen foods such as chicken nuggets, pies and sausage rolls all have an ingredient list as long as your arm!  I know they are quick and easy but if you are looking to reduce the additives/preservatives/colours etc, these are food to avoid.  The recipes below can be made well ahead of time so a little bit of pre-planning can mean that the workload is spread over a few weeks making it more manageable.
  • Artificially flavoured/coloured potato crisps.  Best to stick to plain flavours that don't contain a huge ingredient list.  Putting a bowl of plain crisps next to a nice guacamole or hummus can be a perfect flavour combination naturally!


Mini meat pies  



 I used the shortcrust pastry recipe from the Thermomix EDC recipe book although used organic spelt flour instead of plain wheat flour.
200g organic spelt flour
100g butter
pinch of salt
50-60g chilled water


1.  Place flour, butter and salt into the TM bowl or food processor and mix for about 10 seconds on speed 6 until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2.  If using TMX, set dial to closed lid position.  Add water and knead for 10-20 seconds on interval speed to form a dough, adding more water if necessary.  If using a food processor, add water to flour mix and pulse until mixture just comes together into a ball.
3.  Take mixture out onto a large piece of plastic wrap (or Thermomat) and bring together kneading lightly into a ball.  Press down into a disc and wrap, placing in fridge for at least 15 minutes.  This dough will last like this for a couple of days in the fridge so can make ahead of time.
4.  When you take out of the fridge to use, knead lightly until just pliable, and roll out on floured board to about 2mm thickness.  I used mini muffin trays and cupcake trays for my pies.  For this qty of pastry I made approx 20 pies (a mix of both sizes) so you may wish to double the pastry qty if you are having a larger party.  You'll need to find a round cutter slightly larger than the width of the hole for the base and about the size of the hole for the lid.
5.  Push the cut out bases into the trays, fill to 3/4 mark with cold meat filling (recipe below) and place pastry lid on top, pressing the base and lid together around the sides with the prongs of a fork.  Brush with a little beaten egg if desired.
6.  These can be frozen at this stage (proving the meat filling has not already been frozen separately) or cooked and then frozen, if making in advance.  Thawed pies need to be cooked in a 180 degree oven for approx 25-30 minutes. (cooking times will vary depending on size of pies and individual oven variances)

Gluten Free Pastry

Yes you can do this gluten free!!  I had some great feedback on this pastry and I managed to sneak a few mini gluten free pies in during the party too!  YUM!  This pastry recipe came from a dear friends mum so thank you Althea!   


1 1/2 c organic cornflour (I used 1 c cornflour and 1/2c Orgran gluten free plain flour)
1/2 c organic soy flour
1 heaped tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt
125g butter
1 egg yolk
1/4-1/2c chilled water


1.  Place dry ingredients and butter into TMX or food processor.  Pulse (Turbo button for TMX) until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2.  Add egg yolk and water (start at 1/4 c and add more if necessary to obtain a dough ball) and pulse/turbo until dough just comes together into ball.
3.  Follow steps 3-6 above.
This qty of gluten free pastry made 12 mini pies for me. 

Meat Filling

700g beef steaks (I used rump only because it was half price that week however you would normally use a cheaper cut such as Chuck Steak)
2 tbs oil
2 tbs plain flour (gluten free if making gluten free pies)
1 brown onion
3 cloves garlic
5 mushrooms (organic preferable),
2 tbs vegetable stock concentrate (made in TMX), 1 1/4c liquid stock, or 2 tsp commercial stock powder (try to stick to something without MSG and other additives, such as Massells)
1 1/4c water (only add this water if using stock concentrate or stock powder.  NOT liquid stock as it will be too much liquid!)
2 tbs tomato paste
cracked pepper to taste 


1.  Finely chop up the meat into a fine dice.  Set aside. 
2.  If using a TMX or food processor, chop onion, garlic and mushrooms very finely.  Set aside.
3.  In a medium saucepan, heat oil over high heat and add chopped meat.  Stir through and once browned add flour and stir through.
4.  Add onion/garlic/mushroom mix and stir through.  After a couple of minutes, add stock, water if using, and tomato paste.  Stir through and bring to a slow simmer.  With the lid on, cook on a very slow simmer for an hour or until meat is tender, checking every now and then to stir and ensure the mix isn't catching on the bottom.
5.  Remove lid and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens to a gravy consistency.
6.  Place in container, allow to cool slightly and then place in the fridge until cold.

NOTE: This mix can be frozen until required and therefore can be made up to a couple of months before using.  However note that the thawed filling mix could not then be frozen again in the pastry cases without having been cooked first.
            I had a lot of filling over after making the 20 spelt pastry pies and 12 gluten free pies.  A couple of days later I was able to make a family size pie for us for dinner!  If you double the pastry recipes above, you should have enough meat filling from one quantity.  

'Sausage' Rolls.  

Sausage mince is NOT used in my sausage rolls!!!  No way ho-say!!  A good quality mince can be found at most butchers for well under $10/kg so please stay clear of that stuff in the sausage-looking packet!!  Could you really say what is in that mush?

My recipe can be found at this link.  Check out the feedback from 'happy customers' at the end of the page if you are at all concerned about the recipe!!

If you do not have a TMX, the filling could either be made in a food processor or the veggies could be chopped/grated by hand.  NOTE - make sure you squeeze as much liquid out of the veggie mix as possible to ensure your sausage rolls do not turn out soggy.  Although I did make these using commercial puff pastry, it was Pampas Butter Puff Pastry which is free from additives.  There is a recipe for puff pastry in the TMX EDC recipe book if desired.

These can also be made up to a couple of months prior to the party and a batch will use 8-10 sheets of puff pastry which, when cut into 6, will give you approx 48-60 mini sausage rolls, plenty for most sized kids parties although we certainly had none left and we probably served up about 40, thinking that would be plenty!!


Ok so its a party and there is inevitably going to be sweet stuff on offer!  And why not?!  But sweet stuff often comes with a trailer load of chemicals making food look all the colours of the rainbow... artificially!

At our party we did have a couple of little bowls of Natural Confectionary Company snake lollies and Nestle Smarties.  Whilst these aren't foods we eat every day by any means, they are at least options that come without the harsh and bright artificial colours and flavours.  Apparently Nestle Australia removed them from Smarties back in 2009.   Other confectionary suggestions would be white marshmellows, plain chocolate, the Natural Confectionary lolly range, and some other great organic options can be found here.

My sweet spread was:
  • Natural Confectionary Company snakes (1 large bag spread across 3-4 ramekins on the table)
  • Nestle Smarties (1 large share bag spread across 2 ramekins on the table)
  • Platter of sliced watermelon
  • Cheesecake brownie slice (recipe below)
  • Chocolate crackles (a recipe I always use from the amazing 'Natural New Age Mum').  Link here.  This recipe made 15 crackles for me.
  • THE BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! ( recipe below)
This may not seem like much but no one seemed to be looking for more to eat and the good thing about it was that the birthday cake was probably 3/4 eaten - and many of you would have had the experience of a birthday cake being barely touched which I always think is a waste given the amount of time taken making it!

Other sweet suggestions would be:
  • Pikelets with jam and cream.
  • mini homemade custard tarts or lemon curd tarts
  • fairy bread using 100s and 1000s that contain no artificial colours or flavours (available in supermarkets or at this link)
  • cupcakes
  • homemade shortbread bikkies (my gluten free recipe here) or choc chip bikkies (my gluten free recipe is here)


Cheesecake and brownie slice


110g (1/2 cup) rapadura sugar
250g cream cheese
1 egg (preferably free range organic)
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
125ml (1/2 cup) cream
1/4 cup organic vanilla yogurt

85g sunflower kernels
85g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
140g butter
40g rapadura sugar
150g dark chocolate
35g raw cacao powder
3 eggs


1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2.  Place the 1/2c sugar (cheesecake ingredient) in the TM bowl of TMX and powder on speed 9 for 15 seconds.  Set aside.  No need to wash the bowl.  If you don't have a Thermomix, skip this step.
3.  First make the brownie layer.  Recipe here.  Do not bake the brownie.  Just pour the mix into the tray and set aside while you make the cheesecake layer.
4.  Wash out the TM bowl or food processor.  Place the cheesecake ingredients in and whiz on speed 5 for TMX or medium speed for food processor until smooth.
5.   Pour out onto brownie layer and gently smooth over the top.
6.  Place in preheated oven and bake for approx 20 minutes.  As long as the cheesecake can be touched with a skin on it, it is ready.  Overcooking this slice will dry it out and it won't be as creamy and moist.  Better undercooked than over cooked actually!!!
7.  Allow to cool in the tin.  Carefully pull up and out using the baking paper to pull and slide out onto a cooling rack.  Place in the fridge uncut in a slice container.  Once chilled, using a clean knife for each cut, cut the slice into squares approx 2cm x 2cm.

This slice will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.  It also freezes well so could be made up to a month prior to your party!  


OK.  So this is always my favourite part of the kids birthday parties!  I have always loved cake decorating and I seemed to have passed this passion onto my boys as they now start thinking about the cake that they want even a few months prior to their birthdays!  You can check out pics here of most of the boys cakes to date (scroll down to the bottom of the post).  
The cake that I made for this birthday was chosen by Liam himself.  I had made it a few months earlier for a dear friends 40th and Liam had managed to sneak a taste when I wasn't looking and loved it!!!  So the cake is a caramel mud cake sandwiched between two moist vanilla bean cake layers.  Three layers of decadent, gluten free, moist, deliciousness...... oh yes, if I do say so myself!!!  I can't take credit for creating these cake recipes though so I have included the recipe links below.  I did make a few changes to both recipes though and these will be detailed below.  Between each layer was a vanilla bean buttercream icing, so yes this cake does have a processed element in that I have used pure icing sugar for the icing.  I used whipped cream to decorate the sides of the cake which cuts through the sweetness nicely, while giving a nice white finish to the cake.
Whilst chocolate is normally the crowd favourite, I think these flavours appeal to both kids and adults alike, and really there is nothing to not like about this flavour combination, other than the pull it has to sneak another piece from the cake board!
Like all good cakes there is no shortage of butter and sugar in these recipes however I use minimally processed rapadura sugar (which also contributes a caramel/butterscotch flavour) and hey, its the birthday cake!!
So here is the Caramel Mudcake link  
Changes to the caramel mud cake -
  • Rapadura instead of brown sugar
  • Organic vanilla bean extract with the seeds, instead of vanilla essence.
  • Gluten free plain and SR flour instead of normal wheat flour (same qtys)
  • I used the TMX so placed all the ingredients they put in a saucepan into the TM bowl instead.  Melted at 60 degrees for about 4 minutes on speed 1 until all melted.  Then added one egg at a time on speed 3 and then added the flours and stirred through on speed 1 until just combined but with no flour lumps. I used a rectangle cake tin 25 x 20cm.
 and here is the vanilla cake recipe link . 
 Changes to the vanilla cake recipe -

  • Rapadura instead of granulated sugar
  • Raw organic coconut oil instead of vegetable shortening
  • Gluten free plain flour instead of all purpose flour (same qtys)
  • Organic vanilla bean extract with the seeds, instead of vanilla extract.
  • I have to be honest and say I didn't use any ingredients at room temperature as suggested and mine still worked out fine!  I'm not that organised!
  • I used the same rectangle cake tin as above and cut the cooled cake in half lengthways, making way for the caramel mudcake layer in between.
  • I used the TMX so creamed the butter and coconut oil on speed 6, scraping the sides down a few times.  Then added the sugar slowly and continously on speed 3, then the eggs on the same speed one at a time.  I then decided to take this creamed mixture out of the TM bowl and into a big mixing bowl to be able to get the air into it and mix it carefully and properly with the dry ingredients and milks, alternatively.
The buttercream icing recipe I use is here (step 2) and although this is a TMX recipe, use the same quantities in your electric mixer and the same result will occur.  I doubled this recipe to cover the layers and added a couple of teaspoons of vanilla bean extract!  YUM!!
Once the cakes were cooled and the vanilla cake halved, place one half of the vanilla cake on a cake board (with a smudge of icing on the board to stop the cake from slipping), cover it with almost half the icing.  Place the caramel mud cake on top (making sure it is relatively even and if not, shave off some of the cake to even it so that you get a flat top).  Ice the mudcake with most of the remaining icing (leaving some to fill the gaps in the layers on the sides).  Place the top half of the vanilla cake on top.
Then whip 300ml cream flavoured with a splash of vanilla bean extract and a spoon of icing sugar until it is firm (but don't curdle it whatever you do!!)     
Patch the gaps and unevenness up with the remaining icing.  Cover the outside of the cake with the cream.  I would generally do a thin layer over the entire cake first to keep the crumbs contained to this layer.  Leave it for 20 minutes or so and then cover with the remaining cream evenly to make a perfectly white cake!
Decorate as desired.

So I hope this blog post has given you some ideas and direction for making your next party a 'clean' one!  I'm sorry I didn't have a lot of great photos for you but will hope to add them over time (The party went so fast I didn't get my camera out fast enough!)  If you have any more questions on my 'mostly clean party', please either leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.  Enjoy...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Seeded cheddar biscuits - 'Cheds' style! Gluten and nut free

A big part of my love affair with food are the emotions that come from eating.  Whether it be memories that come flooding back with just one bite, family traditions passed down from generation to generation, love that is felt from ones effort and thought, or even a talent of flavour matching and creation of a dish that gives you no choice when you experience it than to close your eyes and treasure the moment, hairs standing on end.  I've experienced many of these moments.  It's something I live for, something I guess you can't understand unless you feel that way about food too!
So where does this recipe fit in?  Do you remember the age old 'Arnotts Cheds' biscuits?  I'm pretty sure they are still on the shelf actually, I just don't look in that aisle anymore and they contain gluten anyway so are a no-go zone for me!
But childhood memories come flooding back with the talk of Cheds and I am happy for the trip down memory lane!
These days I am much more mindful of what I am putting in my mouth and 'Cheds' have an ingredient list as long as my arm, many of which are not what I would consider to be 'food'!  Check this out....
Wheat Flour (Contains Folate, Thiamin), Vegetable Oil, Cheese (17%) (Milk Solids, Salt) Salt, Malt Extract (from Barley) Yeast, Yeast Extract, Flavours, Glucose, Raising Agents (E500), Rye Meal, Rice Flour, Milk Solids, Spices, Colour (E150D), Antioxidants (E306 from Soy, E304), Emulsifier (E322 (from Soy)).
(Correct at the time of publication)

Hmmm, these ingredients in your or your childrens tummy???  I think not!

These are so easy to make and a little delight that can personalise a cheese platter, compliment a picnic, complete a school lunchbox, satisfy after school hunger pangs, or even make a thoughtful gift for housewarmings, teachers and, well, just about anything really!

So here is the recipe - tell me what you think here or at and pass your love on to someone you care about in the form of a seeded cheddar bikkie!

Seeded Cheddar Biscuits - gluten and nut free


80g sharp cheddar (I think the secret to this recipe is in the cheese so make sure you pick a really bitey one! I used Mainland Extra Tasty Cheddar)
120g plain gluten free flour (I used Orgran)
20g/2tbs sesame seeds
30g/2tbs poppy seeds
75g butter, chilled
10g/just under 1tbs olive oil
1 egg white

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line two baking trays with baking paper. 
  2. Grate cheese on fine grater or use a food processor and process until relatively fine.  
  3. If using a food processor, add all ingredients except egg white and process until mixture resembles breacrumbs.  If not using a food processor, add cheese to a large mixing bowl with flour, seeds, butter, paprika and olive oil.  Rub together with fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add egg white either to the bowl or food processor and mix or pulse until mix just starts to come together.
  5. Lightly flour bench or pastry mat and bring gently together into a ball.  
  6. With a floured rolling pin, roll mixture out to 1/2cm thickness.  Using a biscuit cutter of your choice, place biscuits onto prepared trays with just a bit of space between them.  
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Place immediately on a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container once completely cool.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line two baking trays with baking paper. 
  2. Place the cheese in a dry TM bowl and grate on speed 7 for 5 seconds.
  3. Add flour, seeds, butter, oil and paprika and combine on speed 7 for 3 seconds.
  4. Add egg white and combine on REVERSE, pressing Turbo 3-4 times, or until mixture just begins to come together.  Don't over process or you will lose the flakiness of the finished biscuit.
  5. Pour mixture out onto lightly floured Thermomat or bench top and gently bring together into a ball.
  6. Follow steps 6 and 7 above.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Flourless whole grain date loaf (gluten and dairy free)

I seem to have quite a few 'to have with a cuppa' recipes on my blog! Perhaps it's an indication of how much I like a good coffee or tea, or perhaps more to the point it's an indication of how much I enjoy catching up with friends over a cuppa!  Problem with us Coeliacs is that often we miss out on the bikkies and cakes on offer, but not if you have this recipe on hand!
The whole loaf is only sweetened with half a cup of a natural raw syrup (such as honey, maple or coconut syrup) and medjool dates.  With the white and brown rice, quinoa and chickpeas, nuts and eggs as the remaining ingredients this loaf oozes decadence, but is actually healthy and natural!  The first time I made this I threw in a handful of dark choc chips, the second time I didn't.  It was tasty either way, but I would feel it would be more for afternoon tea with the chocolate and morning tea without - although really, a good dose of cacao can be enjoyed at any time of the day if you are like me ( :

I only just bought my first tub of coconut syrup from Honest to Goodness and so was experimenting with this recipe.  The flavour it brings is rich and 'caramelly' - similar to golden syrup, but given how it is extracted from the sap of the coconut blossom, it brings a range of nutrients and has a low GI (glycemic index).
If you are not using a Thermomix or high speed processor, use a mix of flours such as white/brown rice, chickpea, soy, millet, quinoa, potato... whatever you have in your cupboard.
Delicious with a spread of organic butter, or even just warm out of the oven, this is sure to add to the conversation at your next gathering with coffee and friends!  Enjoy...

Flourless Whole Grain Date Loaf (Gluten and Dairy Free)


1/2 cup (100g) white rice (rice flour if not using a Thermomix)
1/2 cup (100g) brown rice (rice flour if not using a Thermomix)
1/2 cup (100g) quinoa and chickpeas (quinoa/chickpea/millet flour if not using a Thermomix)
8 medjool dates, pips removed
1 cup (110g) walnuts/pecans
1/2 cup (150g) coconut syrup/honey/maple syrup
3/4 cup (170g) hot water
Pinch Himalayan rock salt (or any other minimally processed salt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 handful dark choc chips, if desired

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a loaf tin.
  2. Roughly chop pitted dates and nuts with either a knife or pulse in a food processor.
  3. Add water, syrup, salt, vanilla extract and baking soda to dates/nuts in a large bowl and stir until combined and soda has frothed the mixture slightly.
  4. Lightly whisk eggs and add to date mixture, whisking for 30 seconds or until fully combined and slightly aerated.
  5. Combine flours and baking powder and add to date mixture.  Stir through carefully just until flour is completely incorporated into the mix. (Add choc chips at this stage too if using)
  6. Pour mix into prepared loaf tin and bake for approx 35 minutes for until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Leave in loaf tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack and leaving to cool.  Serve warm or cold with a spread of organic butter.  Store in airtight container for 5 days.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a loaf tin.
  2.  Place rices, quinoa and chickpeas into dry TM bowl and mill on speed 10 for 1 minute.  Set aside.
  3. Add pitted dates to TM bowl and chop on speed 6 for 1 second.  Add nuts and chop on speed 6 for a further second.
  4. Add water, syrup, salt, vanilla and baking soda and stir on REVERSE, speed 4 for 5 seconds.
  5. Add eggs, flours and baking powder (and dark choc chips if using) and stir on REVERSE speed 5 for a further 7 seconds.
  6. Follow steps 6 and 7 above.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Raspberry Coconut Slice - Gluten Free, Real Raspberries and a Nutritious Lunchbox Filler!

There wouldn't be many people out there who haven't had a slice of the traditional Raspberry Coconut Slice in their life!  Whether it was a staple in Grandma's slice tin or a local bakery favourite, this slice conjures up memories of days gone by.
When this slice popped into my head the other day, I wanted to maintain the traditional flavours and textures of the slice, whilst increasing the nutritional value (as I had planned for this to be a successful inclusion into Master 5s school lunchbox).  So the obvious renovation was to first swap the raspberry jam for just the fruit itself, and then a little tinkering to the base has boosted the fibre, protein, omega 3s, antioxidants and so the list goes on!
If you like things really sweet you may find you want to add a little more sugar, but remember the raspberries add sweetness and for the kids I reckon they are sweet enough!

Easy to make and even easier to eat, this slice is guaranteed to spice up the lunchbox, the morning tea platter at work, or even just the humble cuppa for a rare 'me time' moment! 
If you don't own a Thermie, just use brown rice flour, available at your local health food store and some good supermarkets.  The rest can be made with an electric mixer, food processor, or with a bit of muscle power, bring the tradition right back into this recipe with a good ol' fashioned whisk and wooden spoon!

Raspberry and Coconut Slice 


100g butter
3/4 cup (120g) + 1/4 cup (40g) rapadura sugar (or coconut sugar, brown sugar)
3 eggs
3/4 cup (150g) brown rice (or brown rice flour)
2 tbs (25g) chia seeds
1/2 cup (70g) gluten free self-raising flour
1/3 cup buttermilk
250g fresh or frozen organic raspberries
2 cups organic desiccated coconut

Method - Conventional 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm lamington tin with baking paper.  Add chia seeds to buttermilk, stir, and allow to sit until needed.
  2. Using an electric mixer, food processor or whisk/wooden spoon, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add 1 egg. Beat until combined. 
  4. Sift flours over butter mixture and add buttermilk/chia mixture. Stir gently to combine. 
  5. Spread mixture over base of prepared tin. Evenly place raspberries over mixture. 
  6. Whisk remaining eggs and 1/4 cup sugar together in a bowl. Stir in coconut. Sprinkle mixture over raspberries. 
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden. Cool in the tin before slicing.  I've stored mine in the fridge due to the raspberries.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm lamington tin with baking paper.
  2. Place brown rice and chia seeds in the TM bowl.  Mill on speed 10 for 1 minute.  Set aside. No need to clean the bowl.
  3. Add butter and 3/4 cup sugar to TM bowl and whip on speed 6 until pale.  This will require a few stops and scraping down the bowl.
  4. Add 1 egg.  Blend on speed 5 for 10 seconds or until combined. 
  5. Add flours and buttermilk.  Blend on speed 2 until just combined.
  6. Spread mixture evenly over base of prepared tin.  Scrape as much mixture out of the TM bowl as possible but no need to clean.  Evenly place raspberries over mixture.
  7. Add remaining eggs and 1/4 cup sugar to TM bowl and whiz on speed 4 for 15 seconds.  Add coconut and stir through on REVERSE, speed 1 until combined.  Sprinkle mixture over raspberries.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden. Cool in the tin before slicing.  I've stored mine in the fridge due to the raspberries.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Butterscotch and Pear Gluten Free Tart

This tart would go so beautifully with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or dressed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Us Coeliacs don't always get to enjoy sweet treats as most cakes/slices are made with wheat, but when you try this I think you'll agree that there is absolutely no reason why wheat is necessary in this tart, and instead there are plenty of nutrients replacing it!
I have made this base previously with a Stone Fruit Tart, so this is another version and a little more decadent with the addition of a butterscotch sauce.
If nuts are an issue, replace the almonds with sunflower seeds, puffed amaranth or even chestnut meat if it's that time of the year.
Without a Thermomix this recipe can still successfully be made, have a look below for the conventional recipe.

Butterscotch and Pear Gluten Free Tart


15g Chia seeds
25g chickpeas (or chickpea flour if not using a TMX)
20g flaxseed/linseeds
30g brown rice (or brown rice flour if not using a TMX)
25g raw buckwheat (or buckwheat flour if not using a TMX)
40g raw almonds (or almond meal if not using a TMX)
35g rapadura sugar (or brown/raw/coconut sugar)
20g organic shredded coconut
100g gluten free SR flour
100g butter
2 organic beurre bosc pears

Butterscotch Sauce
65g rapadura sugar (or brown/raw/coconut sugar)
135g cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
  2. Peel and slice pears lengthways and set aside.
  3. If you have a food processor, grind up the chia and flaxseeds until fine.  Add the coconut and process until finely chopped. (If you don't have a food processor, just add all flours and seeds in a large bowl and work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until a fine breadcrumb consistency).
  4. Add flours and sugar and mix to combine.  
  5. Add butter and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  6. Press mixture firmly into prepared tin with your fingers or the back of a spoon to make an even base.  Place the sliced pears evenly over the base.
  7. Place the butterscotch sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.  Pour evenly over pears.
  8. Place in preheated oven and cook for approx 45-50 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool in the tin until just warm.  Slice carefully and serve with organic vanilla yogurt, ice cream or cream.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
  2. Peel and slice pears lengthways and set aside.
  3. Place chia, flax, chickpeas, rice and buckwheat in TM bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9.
  4. Add almonds, sugar and coconut and grind on speed 8 for a further 5 seconds.
  5. Add SR flour and butter pieces and process on speed 6 until combined (approx 5-10 seconds).
  6. Follow step 6 above. 
  7. Place butterscotch sauce ingredients in the TM bowl (no need to have washed it - just get as much of the base out as you can).  Cook at 90 degrees, speed 1 for 3.5 minutes.  Pour evenly over pears.
  8. Follow steps 8-9 above.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Carrot cake slice - Nut free, egg free and gluten free

Filling the lunchbox every day is a constant challenge, so I've been told!  I'll find that out first hand this year.  And so given I use nuts in most things I make, it has been a challenge for me to ditch the nuts (during the week anyway!) and to come up with some lunchbox friendly snacks that will still nourish and energize my little man as he takes on each of the days events.

This recipe has no highly processed ingredients, with the bulk of the mix coming from carrots, sunflower seeds and brown rice!  It is also low in added sugar, using dates to sweeten, with just a little help from one of the least processed sugars, rapadura.  Taste the mix before pouring into the tray and if your tastes say 'sweeter please', blend through another couple of dates, some grated apple or sultanas.
I experimented and made a coconut 'icing' to put on top of each slice however you could go more traditional with a cream cheese frosting or even a lemony type icing which would be yummy too!

Of course this isn't just for kids!  Given the ingredients, it would make an energising snack for busy days on the go, between meals, or even with a cuppa and a chat! (or breakfast!).

Carrot Cake Slice - Nut, egg and gluten free


150g brown rice (or brown rice flour if not using a TMX)
30g chia seeds
300g carrots
120g sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
40g rapadura sugar
6 medjool dates (or 1/2 cup sultanas)
70g butter

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Place carrots, sunflower seeds and dates in a food processor and blend until almost smooth.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into prepared slice tray and place in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  5. Cool in tray for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  6. When cool top with coconut icing (recipe below) or desired topping.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Place rice and chia seeds in TM bowl and mill on speed 10 for 1 minute, scraping down once or twice if needed.  Set aside but no need to wash the bowl.
  3. Add carrots, sunflower seeds and dates to TM bowl.  Blend on speed 6-7 for 30 seconds.  Scrape down and repeat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, including rice/chia flour and blend on speed 6 until completely combined (approx 20 seconds).
  5. Follow steps 4-6 above.


Place a 270g tin of coconut milk in the fridge for a couple of hours (I use Ayam brand).  Once it's cooled through, place 50g organic shredded coconut and 40g rapadura sugar in TM bowl.  Blend until a rough paste forms.  Open the coconut milk can without shaking and carefully spoon off just the solid part (the liquid will be down the bottom) and add to the coconut/sugar mix.  Add the finely grated rind of 1 lime and 1 tbs coconut oil and blend on speed 7 until creamy (there will still be some texture from the coconut), scraping a couple of times.Place in a piping bag and decorate individual cake squares as in the picture above or spread over the whole slice and cut into pieces.  

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Nut and gluten free fudgy dark chocolate brownie slice

Hehehe I love you guys!!  A bit of chocolate splashed across my Facebook page and before I could blink again it had become one of the most popular posts since, well, the last chocolate recipe!!!  You and I have something in common that is for sure!  A LOVE of all things chocolate! And why not?!  A good quality chocolate recipe can fit perfectly well into a balanced diet.

Chocolate is mood food, comfort food, soul food, endorphin releasing smile food!  Chocolate lovers live it and breathe it.  And when the 'chips are down', chocolate has this uncanny knack of being able to give us a hug, turn up the corners of our mouth, pick us up, brush us off and keep us going.  Any wonder many health professionals out there are calling it a super food!  Damn right it is ( ;

And the closer you get to the natural cacao bean itself, the more you benefit from antioxidants, magnesium, flavenoids, iron, zinc, potassium, copper.....

As Mellymaks regulars know, these days I only use raw cacao powder (instead of the over heated and processed cocoa powder) and minimum 70% dark chocolate.  For Christmas a dear friend of mine gave me a sachet of Loving Earth Drinking Chocolate which is so amazing as it contain cacao nibs in it which gives these beautiful little crunchy pieces while drinking the chocolate milk!  YUM!  When I served this recipe up with homemade vanilla ice cream and strawberries, I sprinkled some of the drinking chocolate over the top which finished it off beautifully!

So given I am officially a new school mum this year, my mind is on nut free recipes at the moment!  This recipe therefore uses sunflower kernels and pepita seeds instead of the traditional walnuts or almonds.  Of course it is also gluten free.  I've also made it more bitter than sweet, but adding just a little more rapadura, or preferably some raspberries to the mix, will increase the sweetness!

If you like a really fudgy slice, reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.  I layered my slice up with ice cream, but a coconut cream, ganache or even a butterscotch sauce would be just as delicious.

I challenge you not to lick the bowl from this one! ( ;

Nut and gluten free Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownie Slice


85g sunflower kernels
85g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
140g butter
40g rapadura sugar
150g dark chocolate
35g raw cacao powder
3 eggs

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a slice tin with baking paper.      
  2. Grind sunflower kernels and pepitas in a food processor until fine.  Set aside.
  3. Melt butter, sugar and dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat until just melted.  Take off heat.
  4. Add cacao powder and stir through. 
  5. Add eggs and beat with electric beaters for approx 1 minute or until thickened.
  6. Fold through ground seeds.  
  7. Pour into prepared slice tray and smooth surface.  Bake for 25 minutes or until just cooked through.  Be sure not to over cook or you will lose the fudgy centre!
  8. Serve in any of the ways suggested above.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Place sunflower kernels and pepitas in TM bowl and grind on speed 9 for 20 seconds.  Dont let it turn into a paste though.  Set aside.  No need to wash the bowl.
  3. Place butter, sugar and dark chocolate into TM bowl and combine on speed 7-8 for approx 10 seconds - enough to break it all up. 
  4. Scrape down sides of bowl and heat at 90 degrees, speed 2 for 2 minutes, ensuring all mixture has melted.
  5. Add cacao and eggs and whip on speed 5 for 30 seconds.
  6. Add ground seeds back into the mix and blend through on speed 4 for 15 seconds.
  7. Follow steps 7-8 as above.